Why Dexter is a Hero

DISCLAIMER: If you haven’t seen the show Dexter, and are planning to watch it (which I definitely recommend) then don’t read this post. It is absolutely littered with spoilers. If you’ve seen it, don’t plan to watch it, or don’t care about spoilers, then carry on!

For D of my April A to Z Challenge, I want to talk about Dexter. Dexter Morgan the person.

The basic premise of the show is that Dexter is a psychopath that has the need to kill people, but he only kills serial killers and lives by a strict code taught to him by his father (who incidentally was a cop). While his father has a questionable past that comes to light over the course of the series, he loves his son and wanted to help him harness his urges and use them for good, so that he could live his life out of jail and make the world a better place by killing the bastards that managed to avoid jail or the death sentence for the crimes they committed.

Of course, the awesome twist on this is that Dexter is a blood spatter analyst, and a damn good one, so he has the resources to track his victims.

I spent most of the first two seasons questioning my morality, and I think that’s why this show had such an impact on me. The mere fact that I was rooting for a killer made me wonder what kind of person that made me. It’s a hard situation to take sides on. Yes, killing people is wrong. And Dexter has a mental condition that fuels the need to kill. But, all of the people he kills are also killers, that destroy innocent lives and aren’t being punished by the system. So they’re free to roam, kill, rape, and torture, until Dexter catches them and ends their lives, thus saving how many other lives in the process.

The line between right and wrong is very blurred here, and one has to ask themselves, is he doing good work? Or should he be incarcerated himself?

Throughout the series, Dexter manages to cultivate some amazing relationships. He even gets married and has a baby at one point, which also raises the question of how an alleged psychopath can even love. But he shows time and time again that he does love his wife, friends, and child, which just gives more ammo to the fact that he is, on some level, a good person.

At the end of the series, some shit goes down, and Dexter decides that he is a monster and can’t have any relationships at all, so he fakes his own death, leaves his kid with his girlfriend, and ends up as a lumberjack somewhere (with a horrible beard, might I add), very sad and alone. In my rage I read tons of articles on the series finale, and found a few blurbs from the writers.

Of course I can’t find the one that I want to quote now, but the main jist of it was that the writers explained that Dexter couldn’t have his happily ever after because he is, for all intents and purposes, a monster.

Fuck you, writers. I spent the whole series questioning morals and watching Dexter learn and grow and become a human being, to the point where he realized that his love for his family had conquered his need to kill. I wanted him to run off to Argentina and raise his child and get to be a normal person. He’d done his time, saved countless lives, lost so many people he loves, he deserved that. But apparently no, he doesn’t deserve any of that, and now his kid is going to grow up without his father.

I read on HuffPost that the writers originally intended for Dexter to get the death penalty, but Showtime wouldn’t let them kill Dexter in case they wanted to do a spinoff. Honestly, I would have preferred that, because at least it wouldn’t have been Dexter giving up and hating himself, and getting caught instead. It would have been horrible and emotional, but it would have been a truer ending IMHO. But TV networks only care about money, so we got this bullshit.

Anyway, this is probably long enough. I love Dexter, it was an amazing journey, and I’m just going to pretend that the last half hour of the series finale didn’t happen. In my mind, he’s in Argentina with Hannah and Harrison, not having forgotten everything in his life because he learned from it, determined to give his son a happy and loving upbringing.


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Aspernauts There is some seriously bitchin poetry happening over here! Check it out!


6 thoughts on “Why Dexter is a Hero

  1. Thoroughly enjoyed the show Dexter. Right now, I’m reading the book series and it’s very interesting to read not only how certain events in the books pop up in the t.v. series but how certain characters are described. A good example would be Dexter. Dexter on t.v. is nothing like the Dexter in the books, but they are fascinating just the same.

    Found your blog via the A-Z Blogging challenge.

    A-Z Challenge at Father Nature’s Corner

    • Are those the graphic novels? I saw them in a comic book store once and made a mental note to check them out when I finished the show :) just in case they were close enough that it would give away the ending!

  2. I love Dexter and can completely understand your moral dilemma about rooting for a cold blooded killer. I know..right? To me, it’s all about good writing. The book series (where it all began) is incredible. I turned to them after the first season of the Showtime series in need of more..MORE! Jeff Lindsay created a likable serial killer who was clever and humorous….and frankly, doing society a favor. It’s an escape from our everyday lives….isn’t that what good writing is supposed to do? Take us to another world, let us live another life, step outside boundaries? Have you seen The Shield?


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